A survey of weeds in spring cereal fields was conducted in 16 regions of southern and central Finland in 1997-1999. Data were collected from conventional and organic farms, both of which applied their normal cropping practices. A total of 690 fields were investigated by counting and weighing the weed species from ten sample quadrats 0.1 m2 in size in late July - early August. Altogether 160 weed species were found, of which 134 were broad-leaved and 26 grass species. The total number of weed species ranged from 41 to 84 between regions. In organically farmed fields, the average species number was 24 and in conventionally farmed fields 16. The most frequent weed species were Viola arvensis 84%, Stellaria media 76% and Galeopsis spp. 70%. Only 18 species exceeded the frequency level of 33%. The average density of weeds was 136 m-2 (median= 91) in sprayed conventional fields, 420 m-2 (374) in unsprayed conventional fields and 469 m-2 (395) in organic fields. The average air-dry above-ground biomass of weeds was 163 kg ha-1 (median=63), 605 kg ha-1 (413) and 678 kg ha-1 (567), respectively. Weed biomass accounted for 3% of the total biomass of the crop stand in sprayed conventional fields and for 17% in organic fields. Elymus repens, the most frequent grass species, produced the highest proportion of weed biomass.
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